December 2014

Fiberstar, LLC

THE PROJECT

In December 2014, AMCREF Community Capital provided $9.5 million of federal NMTC and $6.4 million of Florida NMTC financing to Fiberstar, Inc. Fiberstar utilizes citrus waste to manufacture natural, healthy food ingredients using their proprietary, patented-process. Fiberstar’s products are utilized in food production to improve health, quality and cost savings. They frequently replace non “natural” ingredients such as trans fats, chemically modified gums and starches, and chemical emulsifiers. Fiberstar’s products are produced from citrus-based waste generated during orange juice manufacturing, such as pulp, rag & core and peels. This waste has minimal alternative uses and is either included in cattle feed or landfilled. Furthermore, Fiberstar’s purchase of the waste provides a valuable additional revenue stream for the local citrus industry, a major employer in the region, that has been suffering recently due to a bacterial disease affecting as many as 70% of Florida’s citrus trees. In addition to supporting the struggling citrus industry, Fiberstar is bringing high quality manufacturing jobs to Hendry County, an area that has historically been largely dependent on low paying agricultural jobs and consistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in FL.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: 35 direct FTEs and support of 225 FTEs and 700 seasonal jobs at the adjacent Southern Gardens Citrus plant. Fiberstar provides full benefits, training and pays average annual wages well above the local living wage.
  • Environmental Benefits: Fiberstar creates a valuable new product from low value citrus waste that is typically landfilled. An estimated 2,500 tons of citrus waste is processed each year.
  • Community Support and Impacts: Citrus waste is purchased locally in FL, thereby providing a valuable additional revenue stream for the struggling regional citrus industry, which is one of the major employers for the area. Fiberstar hires primarily from within the local county and jobs are well-suited for LIPs / LIC residents (most do not require a college degree). Fiberstar offers a more natural food additive that is used by bakery, dairy, meat and beverage producers worldwide and results in healthier prepackaged food options with reduced calories, artificial sweeteners, oils and/or fats.
  • Economic / Catalytic Effects: Fiberstar is strongly supported by the regional government and economic development group, which introduced the project to AMCREF. Fiberstar provides economic diversification in an area that is primary agricultural and consistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in FL.